Island Packet — The good news about Snoop Dogg’s sold-out show at the Shoreline Ballroom on Sunday night is that everyone appears to have emerged largely undamaged, that the island survived a music concert without plunging into sub-apocalyptic anarchy, like how things are in the new “Terminator” movie, or in Texas. Unless I was in the wrong parking lot, this concert did not result in flash-mobs in the streets, a terrorist attack, swine flu, or the return of Frankenstein (although it did mean bad things for the pinheads who banked on cops not noticing them smoking weed outside a Snoop Dogg concert — kids, if margaritas were illegal, do you think police might be on alert at Jimmy Buffett shows?).
The bad news: I was pulling for “Pump Pump,” but that’s from his debut record. I’m kind of old.
There were a number of obvious lessons to be learned from our quiet island’s inaugural big-time hip-hop blowout, and probably biggest concert ever, with apologies to Hootie and the Blowfish (who also have an inordinate amount of drinking songs): that the west side says “hey” while the east side says “ho,” that when things reach a certain temperature it is imperative they be dropped and that we should all be more vocal about how deeply we miss Tupac.
But there were also a number of subtle ones that could be shouted from the rooftops here, if you could build any high enough, such as:
HIP-HOP SHOWS ARE NOT THE END OF THE WORLD (UNLESS THE INSANE CLOWN POSSE IS INVOLVED)
Without overstating the level of alarm surrounding Snoop, which seeemd confined mostly to the blogs anyway, the crowd’s “element” was fine, aside from the remarkable discovery that concert crowds sometimes contain beer and pot. In fact, some kindly gray-haired fella at the bar told me, repeatedly, how he was attending with his daughter, as well as many other things: I think he said he was 60, but his words kept getting mixed up with all the drunk. Also he wanted me to buy him vodka. See, you just can’t go to a hip-hop show these days without running into drunken 60-year-olds trying to hit you up for booze.
LIVE HIP-HOP DOES NOT HAVE TO BE TERRIBLE…
… though it is when it’s two MCs, a DJ and their 19 friends stomping around and emptying Dasani bottles on the front six rows. Snoop brought a band — the Snoopadelics, naturally — and while they weren’t the Roots, a live drummer and bass player step everything up. And while I’ve been to any number of rap shows shorter than last week’s “30 Rock,” not that I’m naming names 50 Cent and DMX, Snoop brought a full 90-minute set, laying to waste people’s worries (like mine) about a two-songs-and-out night.
EVERYBODY GETS OLD, EVEN SNOOP DOGG, ALTHOUGH HE DOES IT SEVEN TIMES FASTER THAN THE REST OF US, NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT
Monday morning, the editor of the paper stops me on my way in, which is a terrible idea because I’m only two cups of coffee in at that point and I will punch people. And he tells me this: “So I was talking to a 14-year-old kid this weekend who was dissing Snoop.”
Now, here’s how my brain reacts this bizarro morning detour: 1. Stop, with the “dissing.” 2. He knows who Snoop is? 3. What are a 14-year-old and the paper’s executive editor doing discussing modern hip-hop? 4. Is Michael Eric Dyson here somewhere? 5. Am I in the right building?
But yeah, according to Fitz’s 14-year-old source, Snoop is, and I’m quoting here, “small-time.” Which puts me on the defensive, as someone who’s been spinning Snoop music for 16 years and who has no patience for these AutoTuned dimwits droid-rhyming over synth beats from 1982, which in turn makes me Guy Who Thinks All Music Was Better When He Was A Kid Than Now, which is the most futile and boring argument one can get tangled up in that doesn’t involve waterboarding. So I just sort of mumbled something dismissive and went off for the coffee, the lesson being this: When you are over 35, kids will think your music sucks, no matter the size of the diamond-encrusted fancypants nameplate welded onto your mic (see above).
SNOOP’s WASN’T EVEN THE MOST VIOLENT SHOW ON THE ISLAND THAT DAY
That would be the Arts Center’s fantastic “Les Miserables,” which was a great show that launched a treasury of horrific atrocities at its main characters — murder, war, prostitution, crushing poverty, wrongful imprisonment, compulsive vengeance, falsetto singing — culminating in the fairly excruciating minutes-long fatal shooting of a 10-year-old, in song. Here’s the thing: Doing things in song does not make them more pleasing, not even if the song has won a Tony. It’s just been around longer. If you want to get picky, Johnny Cash shot people out of desperate poverty just to watch them die, he just did it long enough ago that people are used to it. Besides, there’s not much more remorse in “Folsom Prison Blues” than there is in “Murder Was the Case.” Don’t get me started on “Goodbye Earl.”
Anyway, this is all a lot of talk for what seems to have been a successful show. Rock music scares everybody, as it has and as it should, because otherwise it’s “American Idol.” So nice work, everybody. Let’s do it again.